GREENVILLE — It’s a win-win for Brethren Retirement Community residents and Tri-Village second-grade students who participated in Patriot Partners on Wednesday.
Patriot Partners is a tradition going on 15 years strong, as students travel to the BRC every third Wednesday of the month to read books to the residents. The program runs from November to May, with each student bringing three to four books from their classroom library with each visit.
“They love it so much,” said Melinda Harter, BRC supervisor of activities and volunteer coordinator. “It’s a treat.”
This week, the BRC welcomed 63 students, along with their chaperones and classroom teachers.
According to second-grade teacher Mrs. Richardson, a former schoolteacher established Patriot Partners. Over time, as students grow more confident and capable in their reading capabilities, the books they bring are more difficult, sometimes including chapter books.
However, the program is not only an opportunity for the second-graders to strengthen their reading skills but to develop relationships with their elders.
Richardson noted that along with reading, students spend time visiting, making cards for residents, and even join them in other activities such as working on puzzles.
Many students will ask to spend time with a favorite reading partner.
Harter pointed out one student, Kinnley Lewis, who always asks for BRC resident Wanda Bennett for her Wednesday visit. The two were sitting together in a common room, enjoying one another’s company.
“The relationships that they form are the best,” continued Harter. She shared that the BRC welcomes several area schools, including DeColores Montessori School, that also visits once a month, providing music entertainment and even sharing book reports.
“They love to play Bingo with us,” continued Harter. “We love it when the kids come in.”
The BRC is especially busy during the holidays with Christmas caroling by the Franklin Monroe High School and DeColores Montessori performing a holiday sing-along along with music by the DeColores Junior High orchestra.